RAIN 6/18: Senate passes Webcaster Settlement Act of 2009
·Jun 18, 07:23 AM
BILL AWAITS PRESIDENTIAL APPROVALThe Senate unanimously passed the Webcaster Settlement Act of 2009 yesterday. The bill now heads to the desk of President Obama. The legislation would grant SoundExchange and webcasters an additional 30 days from the date it becomes law to agree upon new a royalty rate.
The original Webcaster Settlement Act of 2008 passed in October of last year and set a deadline of February 15, 2009 (RAIN coverage here). SoundExchange was able to sort out royalty agreements with some groups of webcasters, but failed to do so with others — including “pureplay” webcasters, small commercial webcasters, and religious broadcasters. The new Webcaster Settlement Act of 2009 would provide an extra 30 days to reach deals with these webcasters.
NEW iPHONE OS ALLOWS RADIO TO STREAM WHILE USING OTHER APPSThe new operating system for Apple’s iPhone and iPod Touch devices allows users to stream webcasts in the Safari web browser, while using other applications. The OS, dubbed 3.0 and released yesterday, includes in-browser support for HTTP-based webcasts. This means a user can launch a stream within Safari, then navigate away and open other applications while the music continues to play. Unicast streams tested successfully by RAIN include AAC and mp3-based webcasts, like RadioIO, SomaFM, Radio Paradise, AccuRadio’s mobile channels and even Chicago’s WGN simulcast.
The Safari web browser opens the stream in a QuickTime window, much in the same way that it previously played stand-alone mp3 files. This gray QuickTime backdrop “takes over” the Safari web browser however, according to AccuRadio lead developer Ralph Sledge. So while this streaming technique allows the use of other applications, like “Mail” or “Facebook,” a user can no longer navigate the web. Additionally, no metadata or album art is displayed in these streams, only a gray QuickTime backdrop (shown at left). For walk-through instructions and video on this new feature, head over to Matthew S. Raskin’s blog here.
OXENFORD CLARIFIES DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ROYALTY FOR SOUND RECORDINGS AND COMPOSITIONSIn response to growing confusion, industry attorney David Oxenford has penned a reminder to broadcasters and webcasters that royalty payments to SoundExchange do not cover SESAC royalties. He notes that SoundExchange represents the performers of the music, while the SESAC — like ASCAP and BMI — covers the composers of music. The SESAC also charges Internet radio a separate royalty from other performing rights organizations representing the ASCAP and BMI. “Thus, don’t ignore that letter from SESAC asking for Internet radio royalties,” Oxenford writes at his Broadcast Law Blog here.
NYT TRIES OUT SLACKER, PANDORA ON iPHONE, BLACKBERRYThe New York Times’ Bob Tedeschi took Slacker and Pandora’s iPhone and Blackberry applications for a spin—literally. He reviewed the services while driving, much like the Washington Post’s Rob Pegoraro did a few weeks ago (RAIN coverage here). “Both are good enough to make me forsake my favorite radio station and my iPod library on most days,” Tedeschi writes. Read his full thoughts on the applications here.
WEBIO BACKER HERNANDEZ STILL MISSING, WARRANT OUT FOR HIS ARRESTDavid Hernandez, the head of the companies behind Chicago sports radio webcast Webio, is still missing after being charged with fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission (RAIN coverage here). Now, the U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago has charged Hernandez with criminal mail fraud and issued a warrant for his arrest. The Chicago Tribune reports (here) that “he is now the subject of a nationwide manhunt coordinated by the FBI.”
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